This working group will examine postmodern culture's attenuation in the reliability of terms such as 'truth', 'reality', 'objectivity', and 'authenticity'. The imperilled role of these adjectives has its counterpart in the contested status of 'the document', a designation that is increasingly problematic for humanists across a wide swath of disciplines. With its connotation of epistemological security, 'the document' continues to serve as an assertion of--and a foil for--certain ways of knowing. It is (uneasily) both an enduring source of authority in historical practice and a metaphor for the challenges to that authority that have shaped humanistic inquiry for the past few decades.
The Documentary Realities Working Group will reach beyond the expertise of any single field to ask wide-ranging questions, such as:
What qualifies as a document in each of our fields?
How does the status accorded to a document reflect broader assessments of contemporary culture?
What evidentiary capacities does a document have to offer?
How is the instability of the document evident in earlier historical periods, and how does this inform subsequent historiography?
What is the epistemic and historical relationship between the document and the event to which it refers, and how have recent technological shifts impacted these relations?
How do these technological shifts within modes by which we perceive the document reflect a shift also within the apperceptive awareness of an engagement with the event?
In the coming year, the Documentary Realities working group will work to establish direct engagement with the scholarly and arts communities in the GTA, and will develop a joint publication. The focus of our efforts will be a series of four public events which will consist of presentations by both scholars and practitioners of 'documentary realities'.
FACULTY James Cahill, Cinema Studies and French Angelica Fenner, German and Cinema Studies Barry Freeman, UTSC Humanities Yi Gu, UTSC Humanities and Art Charlie Keil, Cinema Studies and History Atsuko Sakaki, East Asian Studies Rebecca Wittman, History Selmin Kara, Liberal Studies, OCAD University Laura Levin, Theatre Studies, York University
GRADUATE STUDENTS Justin Blum, Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies Joe Culpepper, Comparative Literature Sarah O'Brien, Comparative Literature Cassandra Silver, Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies Isabel Stowell-Kaplan, Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies Lilia Topouzova, History